Each week, #SpanningtheNeed will present an “Inspirational Person of the Week’ and have a “Q & A” with one of its many gifted individuals and/or groups who are willing to go out of their own way to help others. This week’s featured is Joseph Caruso from Compass Family and Community Services.
Name: Joseph F. Caruso
Position: President and CEO
Organization: COMPASS Family and Community Services
Bio (paragraph or more): Joseph F. Caruso has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of COMPASS Family and Community Services, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, CARF accredited behavioral health and social services agency serving the Mahoning Valley since 1908. He holds a Master in Business Administration as well as a Bachelor of Science Degree, Combined Science from Youngstown State University. With more than 20 years of business operation experience, he leads a staff of over 250 and a $13 Million Budget, with 13 locations and a vast array of social service programs that include both residential and outpatient behavioral health services, the Sojourner House Domestic Violence Program, Rape Crisis and Counseling, Guardianship, Swanston Commons, Permanent Supportive Housing and Workforce Development. Mr. Caruso facilitated two successful mission driven mergers of community agencies, first in 2011 between Family Service Agency and Burdman Group Inc. to become COMPASS Family and Community Services, and the second in 2013, bringing Community Solutions Association into COMPASS.
Recognized by: United Veterans Council of Greater Youngstown – Citizen of the Year, Area Agency on Aging – 2017 Annual Partnership Award, Youngstown State University – Williamson College of Business Administration 2021 Outstanding Alumnus.
Mr. Caruso began his career as a Forensic Scientist in Indianapolis, Indiana analyzing physical evidence and providing expert testimony in a court of law. His love of the Mahoning Valley brought him back to the area where he began a career serving in local government leadership positions which included Township Administrator for the Board of Liberty Township Trustees, Special Projects Director and Assistant County Administrator for the Board of Mahoning County Commissioners.
Mr. Caruso is the proud husband of the former Rebecca R. Nohra and they have been married for 30 years. They have three grown daughters Adrianna (Michael) Sobnosky, Elan Caruso, and Isabella Caruso (soon to be married to Joseph E. Harris in June 2023) and are grandparents to Mia Rose “Squish” Sobnosky and soon to come Walker Joseph, the end of March 2023.
What made you want to go into this field?
What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
Continuous learning and leadership development, including self-reflection
What is the biggest professional mistake you made along the way?
Underestimating the power of negativity. How we can dwell on the negative even though there are hundreds of positives around us.
What is the hardest decision you ever had to make in this field?
Eliminating the Daybreak Youth Crisis program due to funding and operating challenges that could not be overcome. A program that existed for over 40 years.
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently regarding your profession?
Nothing. What I have experienced has provided me with a rewarding and fulfilling career.
What inspires you to do good in our community?
The community itself. People are appreciative of help and assistance. The people of the Valley are very good people. I love working with others who love this community to make it the best it can be.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering in our community?
Just helping and seeing our community grow and remain resilient and supportive of each other.
What song best describes you or is the soundtrack to your life?
Soundtrack of the movie Return to Me.
What is your best accomplishment/experience in life?
The marriage to my incredible wife Becky and the blessing of three (3) incredible daughters.
Who is your role model and Why?
My parents as they gave me unconditional love and taught me to put others first.
If there was one person that you would like to meet, past or present and why?
Anthony Bourdain, I love to cook and experience different cultures and food brings people together regardless of how different we are.
A favorite quote that you live by?
No good deed goes unpunished. I will always do good deeds as that is what God and his people deserve.